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The Olympic cities (2006)

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The awakening of Olympics as a financial opportunity.
  3. The implicit promise and award for organizing the competition.
  4. Tshe relative rareness of the Olympic Games.
  5. Gaining support from inhabitants.
  6. Conclusion.

Last decades have been marked, assuredly, by the growing internationalization of cities and this increased autonomy of local actions, beyond the national scale, is a particularly relevant frame to study the Olympic phenomenon. As a matter of fact, several scales are represented and interacting in the Olympic Games :on the one hand, with athletes competing under different banners, the competition stands out as an example of nationalism' struggle, but for the host city, local dynamics and local development are also at stake. A competition between cities interest in the Games is obvious and the main evidence of that is the fact that every four year, dozens of city councils are bitterly fighting all over the globe to win this jackpot, namely the honor of staging the Olympics.

[...] In this line, insiders of Olympic cities increasingly tend to organize themselves into coalitions to combat the preparations of the Games. Generally speaking, they advocate a redefinition of the Olympic movement's role towards a commitment in favour of the promotion of social justice instead of exacerbating pre-existing urban gaps and degrading the environment. Toronto 1996's example of the ironically named ?Bread Not Circuses? coalition (bnc) is particularly representative of these democratic fears. Their argumentation focused on two side-effects of Olympics: the lack of representation and poverty, even if they also included some green militants. [...]

[...] The fact is, first, that over the last three decades, the change of economic context has urged world cities to reconsider growth and to compete at the worldwide scale rather than at the regional or even national. Moreover, in post-industrial societies, urban development tends to focus on consumption activities rather than on manufacturing production. This paradigm perfectly suits with Games-related growth. Historically, the awakening of Olympics as a financial opportunity is linked to the outstanding economic success of Los Angeles games in 1984. [...]

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